We recently had the opportunity to try out Toyota’s updated 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro on mountain trails high in the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver, Colorado. The TRD Pro received a few smart upgrades, including new forged aluminum upper control arms, new tires, more suspension travel, and new bedside “TRD Pro” stampings. The truck’s price also increased by a modest $1,600 bringing the starting price of an automatic transmission equipped truck to just under $50,000. This isn’t a bad deal considering all that comes with the 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro.
Fortunately, Toyota offers several other Tacoma options as well for those of us wishing to get off the beaten path while leaving a bit of coin still in our pockets. One of these trucks is the 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition. Based on the mid-grade SR5 trim Tacoma, the Trail Edition package is available on four-wheel drive Double Cab models with the short bed, V-6 engine, and automatic transmission. The Trail Edition gets a 1.1-inch front suspension lift with the rear receiving a 0.5-inch lift. This lift is achieved with taller coil springs in the front and a small spacer in the rear. The truck also gets an electronic locking rear differential, has the front air dam removed, and is fitted with skid plates from the TRD Off-Road model.
The most interesting feature of the Tacoma Trail Edition is also its most unique. Fitted in the bed of the truck are a pair of lockable bed storage compartments. The driver side compartment is even insulated with the intention that it can be used as a cooler of sorts. While the storage bins are great for holding wet and dirty gear that you don’t want in the cab but also don’t want stolen, these bins are removable for times when the full bed is needed for hauling. Interestingly, while these storage bins will technically fit all short-bed Tacomas, they are only available with the Tacoma Trail Edition package and cannot be added separately.
The big question then is just how well does this budget-friendly off-roader do when the pavement gives way to dirt? In short, it’s pretty darn good. The added lift and removal of the front air dam gives the truck great approach and departure angles, along with plenty of ground clearance to get over obstacles. The Goodyear all-terrain tires offer plenty of grip on loose dirt, and when they aren’t quite enough the rear locking differential boosts traction to get over the toughest obstacles.
The Trail Edition doesn’t come with Toyota’s Crawl Control or Multi-Terrain Select features. But honestly, we didn’t miss them. The Tacoma’s 3.5L V-6 engine produces plenty of power to get down the trail and the six-speed automatic transmission works well on the trail with its manual gear selection function.
Inside, the SR5 Tacoma is equipped with an 8-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The truck also has a 10-way adjustable driver’s seat and cloth seating throughout the cabin. All Tacoma models come standard with TSS-P, which includes such safety and security features as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and auto emergency braking. All these features made driving the Tacoma Trail Edition a joy, since lower tier models typically lose out on some of our favorite features such as Apple CarPlay and adaptive cruise. And, if we’re being completely honest, we almost prefer the Tacoma’s cloth interior over the higher trim leather seats.
At the end of the trail, we were quite impressed with the 2022 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition. This truck felt pure and simple while still providing the comfort and luxuries we’ve become accustomed to. If you can off-road without the electronic aid of Crawl Control, and don’t need to have leather seats, look no further than the Tacoma Trail Edition. You too will be pleasantly surprised.
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